MESA Africa promotes innovation and collaboration in smart manufacturing

November 2023 News

MESA Africa, the African chapter of Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association International (MESA), had another exciting lineup of thought leaders and industry experts on the second day of its recent summit, which focused on smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0.

With the theme ‘Sharing Our Knowledge – Building Your Success’, the conference brought together manufacturers, producers, industry leaders and solution providers to explore the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in the rapidly-evolving landscape of manufacturing technology. This was made possible by the support of key sponsors Schneider Electric, Iriton Pragma Global, 4Sight, MESA International, SAIMC, Montgomery Group, and Ki Leadership Institute.

Lullu Krugel, chief economist at PwC South Africa, kicked off the day with a comprehensive overview of the ‘Economic and Risk Outlook 2023-2024’. With a focus on building business resilience in the post-COVID-19 era, Krugel emphasised the role of digital collaboration, IIoT leverage and operational systems integration, and the importance of a connected enterprise in navigating long-term socio-economic challenges.

Dave Wibberley, MD/CEO at Adroit Technologies, highlighted energy management in his talk on ‘An Asset and Energy Management Journey’. He explored cost optimisation, advocating for a deeper understanding and control of the energy value chain through people, processes, partnerships, and technology. His innovative approach integrated IIoT platforms for digital asset and energy management in both the retail and industrial sectors.

Jan Robberts, director at Ki Leadership Institute, gave a presentation on ‘Food Sustainability Through Synergy Between Agriculture and Manufacturing’. Robberts advocated for alignment, exploring the transformative potential of uniting agriculture and manufacturing in Africa. His talk highlighted the need for robust government support, and emphasised the importance of collaborative growth through innovative methods, sustainable resource management, and cross-sector collaboration for economic prosperity.

Neels van der Walt, senior business development manager at Iritron, unravelled the concept of ‘Smart Mining Operations Management’. Giving insight into key dimensions and trends, he offered eight practical tips for implementing intelligent mining operations. His vision included eliminating data silos, providing a unified truth, and optimising information access for streamlined mining operations.

Harshini Vallabh Rattan and Bernice Wessels from PwC South Africa together gave a dynamic talk on ‘Ensuring Sustainability and Resilience of the Workforce and Organisation’. Raising strategic questions, their approach spanned wellbeing, pensions, lifestyle, healthcare, purpose, training, and performance-based incentives. They also went into the implications of using culture traits to encourage ways of work in the organisation to foster enhanced productivity and business benefit.

Dr Suven Ramsunder, a digital transformation expert at Schneider Electric, explored ‘The Evolution of the Digital Person. Highlighting challenges and opportunities arising from diverse communication preferences and technological literacy, Ramsunder advocated for bridging gaps through mutual understanding, adaptation, and effective communication strategies for a cohesive digital future.

Wayne Hempel, head of Technology, Innovation and Systems at Minopex, unveiled ‘The Future of Smart Mineral Processing’, covering the industry's progress and challenges, and the complexity of extraction. Hempel introduced the NeuroMine Insights Centre and Systems, a fit-for-purpose operating model which identifies, resolves, and tracks opportunities at an operational level, and is aligned with business goals for transformative success.

In a compelling talk, Walker Reynolds, chairman of Intellic Integration USA, delved into digital transformation, decoding its complexities and stressing the importance of digital maturity. From Industry 3.0 to seamless integration, he gave his vision of the future business landscape. Reynolds highlighted data operations as the lynchpin for successful transformation, elucidating the pivotal roles of data, information, and infrastructure ownership. He also outlined a five-year roadmap to becoming a smart business, focusing on discerning patterns, predicting trends, and making informed decisions through data analysis.

MESA Africa invites delegates from all parts of industry to again join this high-level summit in 2024, where it will be promoting collaboration, innovation, and success in the ever-evolving landscape of smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0.

For more information contact Jane Collett, MESA Africa,,


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